Fine Chinese Export Eight-Fold Lacquer Screen, early 19th century
decorated with an expansive landscape with figures, temples, animals, pagodas and junks within a border of trailing vines with exotic birds and butterflies in shades of black on a gold ground.
The reverse decorated with eight individual scenes of alternating bamboo and blossom trees with birds, again within a border of scrolling flowers and foliage in shades of gold on a black ground
Provenance: Fonthill Estate, near Tisbury, England, once home to William Beckford and now the seat of Lord Margadale. The present screen was more than likely acquired by the famous collector, Alfred Morrison (1821-1897), Lord Margadale’s direct antecedent, either for Fonthill or for his London residence at Carlton House Terrace. As well as collecting antique Persian carpets, Chinese porcelain, Greek gems, fine gold objects and miniatures, he was also a great supporter of contemporary craftsmen – he favoured rich pieces with highly decorated surfaces, as in the offered screen, and was Placido Zuloaga’s greatest patron ordering, amongst many items, the famous ‘Fonthill Casket’
The elaborate and detailed scene seemingly showing court life or a festival around a series of waterside pavilions is perhaps inspired by an earlier scroll painting, such as the 12th century, Song Dynasty, twenty-seven foot long scene Along the River During the QingMing Festival attributed to Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) , now in the Palace Museum, Beijing and often copied in later centuries.